LEGO The Incredibles Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4Also available on Nintendo Switch, PC and Microsoft Xbox One
Albert Einstein famously coined the phrase: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”, and whilst it’s true that once you’ve played one LEGO title you’ve played them all, this rinse and repeat structure that publish Warner Brothers and developers TT Games religiously adhere to is now firmly ingrained as part of the LEGO charm. LEGO The Incredibles is the latest in a long line of licensed LEGO titles, and while it adds a couple of new and intriguing gameplay features, it comes with all the same criticisms and bugs that have dogged previous entries. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for TT Games to move out of their comfort zone!
A major pull of the LEGO titles is that they allow you to play through your favourite films or TV shows, just in LEGO form with the added humour and charm that only a LEGO title can deliver. In LEGO The Incredibles you take control of the superhero Parr family and play through the story of both the original The Incredibles and the recently-released Incredibles 2 movies. If you’ve yet to see the film in cinemas, be warned, the game will certainly spoil the story for you. For the most part, the story from both movies is well replicated, but, as is the case with most LEGO video game titles, they don’t cover everything.
Superheroes are always easier to transform into LEGO mode due to the vast number of abilities the recognisable cast of characters possess, and LEGO The Incredibles is no different. The main playable cast includes: Mr Incredible with his super-strength, Elastigirl and her ability to change and morph her body, Dash and his super-speed, Violet and her ability to create force fields and become invisible, baby Jack-Jack and his numerous shape-shifting abilities, and my favourite Frozone and his ability to freeze the world around him! As with all LEGO titles, there are hundreds of playable characters to unlock, but because The Incredibles series lacks the broad depth of other titles such as Star Wars and Harry Potter, the developers have included a number of notable characters from Pixar’s extended universe. We won’t spoil the surprise, but it was brilliant being able play as our favourite fishy friend in The Incredibles world.
In terms of gameplay, LEGO veterans will feel right at home, with very little changing since the previous entry. You progress through each story level by solving puzzles and defeating bosses. Most puzzles are nothing more than breaking objects and rebuilding them as something else that helps you progress. There are also the occasional puzzles where a certain character’s superpower is needed, and that’s where one of LEGO The Incredibles’ newest features comes into play. Here, you’ll need to combine characters to solve puzzles, so for example carrying people over dangers in Violet’s force field or turning Elastigirl into a boat or trampoline for other characters to jump and ride on in order to move forward. Puzzles aren’t particularly challenging, but they’re plentiful and well implemented. As LEGO games are already best played in local co-op, the addition of co-op puzzles is a nice touch and only adds to the enjoyment when playing with friends.
Sadly, combat is fairly weak and nothing more than button mashing, while vehicles still control terribly, a criticism of pretty much every previous LEGO title. Bugs and glitches from previous titles have also been shamefully carried across; I had times when I couldn’t switch between characters, fell through the scenery and had puzzle solutions fail to load or appear, all forcing me to reload the last checkpoint. What’s more, loading times were noticeably long, especially when waiting for the main city hub world to load. The LEGO formula is over a decade old now, and yet the same annoying bugs still persist, which is nothing more than laziness on the part of the developers, and reinforces the image that some LEGO games feel like nothing more than a copy and paste job.
As with all LEGO titles, LEGO The Incredibles shines the most when it comes to collectibles and post-game content. Following the completion of the main story, you’re able to freely roam around the game’s city hub world, collecting all the red and gold bricks, unlocking all the characters, completing races and time trials, redoing story missions to complete all the minikits or gather all the studs, or complete two new modes, city district-based crime waves and family builds. Family builds involve you collecting enough bricks to complete bigger constructions that require more than one character, while crime waves appear in certain districts and task you with completing sub-missions before eventually taking on Super Villains to free the city district of their tyranny. As I’ve mentioned in previous LEGO reviews, if you’re a fan of collecting, you’ll find hours of content available in LEGO The Incredibles, which will certainly extend the game’s lifespan past the five or so hours it takes to complete both stories.
Nevertheless, despite the depth of content, LEGO The Incredibles feels like a LEGO cash-in. It is certainly aimed at younger LEGO fans and lacks the depth of content found in the Star Wars, Harry Potter and Marvel Superheroes entries, while graphically it’s also lacking. Texture popping was a constant nuisance throughout, while the game worlds lacked the colour and substance you’d expect from a LEGO title in 2018. It’s not a bad looking game, but it certainly feels unpolished and a little rough around the edges.
If you’re an Incredibles fan, LEGO The Incredibles will no doubt provide you with hours of enjoyment, while fans of the LEGO formula will find themselves right at home, but sadly the game feels like it was quickly hobbled together to coincide with the movie’s launch. If you hate LEGO titles, you’ll find nothing new to draw you in here, and it’s a shame that once again all the same bugs and glitches from previous titles are present. For over a decade now, TT Games have been serving us the same game, dressed up in different packaging, so maybe it’s time for something new.